5 talks to catch at Design Indaba 2018

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South Africa’s annual evil intent conference returns to Cape Town this month. Here are some of the most exciting speakers to check out during the event, including stage designer Es Devlin and architect Thomas Heatherwick.

Tom Dixon

Tunisian-born Tom Dixon at first studied at Chelsea School of Art in London, before dropping out to join funk bunch Funkapolitan. He later taught himself how to weld after being tortuous in a motorbike accident, and by the late 1980s was designing furniture for big brands such as Italian clobber company Cappellini. Dixon founded his own company, Eurolounge, in the mid-1990s and became top a intercept of design at Habitat in 1998. He was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2001, and uncountable of his early works are now part of the permanent collections at institutions such as the V&A.

Es Devlin

Send back Maze by Es Devlin, commissioned by The Fifth Sense, a partnership between CHANEL and i-D. Essence © Victor Frankowski courtesy of i-D

Stage designer Es Devlin’s previous solve has spanned areas as varied as opera, dance, theatre, fashion and music. She started out sly sets for small, experimental theatres in London such as The Bush and The Crowd, before going on to create stage sculptures for the likes of Beyoncé and Kanye West. Devlin also planned the London 2012 Olympic closing ceremony and the Rio 2016 Olympic breach ceremony. She is a fellow of the University of Arts London (UAL), and was made OBE in 2015.

Thomas Heatherwick

Photo by Elena Heatherwick

British designer-turned-architect Thomas Heatherwick instituted his own studio in 1994, bringing together the practices of design, architecture and urban planning at the beck one roof. He still leads all Heatherwick Studio’s projects, heading up a tandem join up of 180 architects, designers and makers. Heatherwick recently completed the Zeitz Museum of Coincidental African Art in Cape Town, the first museum of its kind in Africa. Upcoming presents include a new Google campus in Silicon Valley, a retail development in Crowned heads Cross called Coal Drops Yard and a design overhaul of London Olympia. Heatherwick is also a Commander of the Contract for of the British Empire (CBE), Royal Academician and Royal Designer for Industry (RDI).

Astrid Stavro

Photo by Salva Lope

Vivid designer Astrid Stavro is creative director of Atlas, an independent consultancy with offices in London, Mallorca and New York. She studied graphic design at Central Saint Martins aficionado ofed by the Royal College of Art in London. As well as her work at Atlas, Stavro is also the rewrite man at large of art magazine Elephant, and is part of the executive committee at the Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI).

Smear Kamau

Kenya-based designer Mark Kamau is the user experience (UX) design concert-master at start-up tech company Brck, which specialises in connecting African powers to the internet. He has previously worked doing UX strategy and research for companies comprehending Google, Microsoft and Ideo. Kamau is also the founder of the first devices configuration definition (HCD) ¬- the hardware systems for electronic devices ¬- lab in Africa, the iHub UX lab.


Aim Indaba runs from 21-23 February 2018 at Artscape Theatre Focus, D.F. Malan Street, Foreshore, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa. See the whole line-up and buy tickets here.

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